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Letter to the editor | Jonathan Katz

Jonathan Katz

Dear Editor,

Much of Ms. Plovnick’s information is wrong, and her enthusiasm is misdirected.
There is no evidence that global warming will lead to increasing droughts or tropical storms (which make a lot of rain, the opposite of a drought). The climate has been steadily warming since the end of the Little Ice Age about 300 years ago. Some of this has been natural and some of it anthropogenic. There has been no evidence for an increase in either droughts or storms.

Sea level is rising at the rate of about 3.5 millimeters per year.  At that rate, a rise of four meters would take over 1,000 years. We rebuild our cities and infrastructure continuously, as they wear out or become obsolete, roughly every 50 years. Low-lying coastal cities will move inland, but the effect of rising seas will be only a small part of this natural process. There won’t be any climate refugees.

The world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases is China, not the U.S. Chinese emissions are growing rapidly, while those of the U.S. are nearly static. Are the Chinese supposed to remain poor peasants forever?

Why does she think she has the moral right to deny people in developing countries a fraction of the comforts we in America expect?

People won’t freeze in the dark for the sake of a scientific theory, even a correct scientific theory. It is inevitable that greenhouse gases will continue to rise until they are far above present levels.

Humanity will adapt. We may even benefit from longer growing seasons and milder winters (for good physics reasons, summers and the tropics are no hotter than they were 100 years ago and won’t get hotter).

Jonathan Katz
Professor of physics

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